Wrexham AFC, the Welsh lower-league soccer team co-owned by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, will take part in a $1 million seven-a-side tournament in the U.S. this summer.
The Soccer Tournament, also known as TST, will be held in Cary, N.C., June 1-4 and will feature 32 teams. Wrexham is the ninth team to announce its participation in the tournament, which includes Team Dempsey, led by former U.S. men’s national team star Clint Dempsey; British soccer and e-sports club Hashtag United; Mexican side Club Necaxa; and US Women, a group of former U.S. women’s national team players led by Heather O’Reilly.
Wrexham’s team is to feature club legends. The tournament will mark Wrexham’s first visit to the U.S. since the club’s founding in 1864.
“Excited to once again welcome @Wrexham_AFC back to America for the very first time,” tweeted Reynolds on Friday.
Related: For Budweiser, Qatar World Cup has been a tale of tough logistics and quick thinking
“We look forward to debuting in the U.S. with a legends team and the ambition of winning the tournament,” said Shaun Harvey, an adviser to the Wrexham board, in a statement. He noted that if the team wins the tournament, half of the prize money will go toward the club’s work in its community. “Wrexham AFC is more than just a first team,” Harvey said. “It represents the people of North Wales and this tournament will allow us to incorporate former players of the club like we have never been able to do before.”
Reynolds and McElhenney bought Wrexham in a blaze of media publicity in 2020, thrusting the struggling team and the North Wales town into the spotlight. The streaming series “Welcome to Wrexham” has followed their journey with the club as it attempts to win promotion from the fifth to the fourth tier of English soccer.
With Reynolds in attendance, Wrexham was within minutes of celebrating a momentous victory in an F.A. Cup match last month. The team was leading second-tier Sheffield United 3-1 but conceded two late goals as Sheffield forced a replay. The F.A. Cup is the world’s oldest soccer competition.
Now read: Apple to pay $2.5 billion to stream Major League Soccer for the next 10 years
If Wrexham wins Tuesday’s replay with Sheffield United, the club will face Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur in the competition’s quarterfinals.